Get your beautiful body up and moving while you focus your mind with intention during this walking meditation, led by Vassar College Director of Health Services, Margot Schinella. You will learn some awesome facts about the body that helps to nourish and sustain you everyday, all while grounding your mind during a full body scan. Learn about the health benefits of the simple act of walking and take time to appreciate all the individual elements that comprise the human body.
Hi, my name is Margot Schinella and I am the Director of Health Services at Vassar College and a Family Nurse Practitioner. Mindfulness and meditative exercises usually require one to sit still and ground themselves. However, the average American actually sits for approximately 10 hours each day. This is unfortunate as the simple act of walking burns on average 100 calories per mile and helps our bodies in so many ways including: increasing circulation, enhancing bone mass, improving sleep habits and building stronger muscles. Therefore, today we are going to get up and get in motion while we focus our minds on our body and the way it moves around in our physical space. Who knows, you might even learn some fun body facts along the way…..
First, find a quiet space without distractions that offers about 10 to 20 feet of walking distance. This can be inside, outdoors, wherever feels comfortable to you. Next, take off your socks and shoes and stand quietly in place.
Start to take deep and refreshing breaths. As we breathe, appreciate the environment that surrounds you. Consider the effects that gravity is having on you in this moment. Centering and grounding you.
Begin to slowly walk forward. Keep your eyes open and focus on the experience of walking. Think of where your body is in space right now. Continue with forward momentum one foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Keep going on this path and when you get to the end of your walking path, slowly and carefully turn around. Focus on your breathing, your balance and your beauty.
Take a deep and cleansing breath. Wherever you are on your walking path, begin to walk back to your starting position. As we walk, think about all of the subtle things that contribute to your balance. All of the amazing things at work that keep you upright in your physical space. Balance is only maintained when multiple body systems work in unison. Information that is received by the brain from the eyes works in collaboration with your muscles, joints, and vestibular organs in the inner ear to maintain your center mass over its base of support. Continue walking on this path in a slow and focused manner. Stand up tall and purposeful. Start to perform a body scan. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order from head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body.
Is your head stacked above your shoulders? It should feel as if it is suspended from a string like a marionette puppet.
Open and close your jaw, relax the masseter muscle which is the strongest muscle in your body.
Are your arms swaying freely by your sides? They will help to keep your body straight and balanced.
Do you feel your heart pumping inside your chest? It will do this over 100,000 times for you today. Be thankful for all this muscle does for you.
Do you feel your lungs inflating and deflating inside your rib cage? They will breathe 17,000 times today, providing you with life-sustaining oxygen.
Is your pelvis tucked gently with your hips swaying comfortably back and forth? Here is where your center of gravity is found. Feel the sense of security your lower body offers you as you move through space.
Are your legs gliding along your walking path, nimbly navigating the course ahead of you?
Think of your feet, each made of 26 tiny bones that are supporting your entire body weight in addition to mobilizing and balancing you. Do your toes feel attached to the ground beneath them? Think of the tree frog who uses sticky pads to grip to surfaces to prevent them from falling. Commit to having that attachment to the ground below you, as if you are walking through syrup.
What about all of those unseen body parts…. the 600 muscles, 900 ligaments, 40,000 tendons, and 206 bones that support, protect and transport us? Think of all the blood vessels that if laid out straight would measure more than 60,000 miles. Let us remember all that is more than skin deep that makes us unique and special.
Continue to walk along this path for as long as you like, or need. Please remember to continue with slow, meaningful steps and deep cleansing breaths. Feel how good it is to move your body all while calming and centering the mind. Thank you for joining me today to celebrate beautiful YOU.